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Meet Director's Path to Tranquility

Looking For Earmarks

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It's clearly a budget. It's got a lot of numbers in it.
-George W. Bush

This coming Sunday night is the next club Board of Directors meeting where the meet budget will (hopefully) be approved. This year the sequence of the meet planning is out of whack. Normally in the past, the meet budget is first submitted to the board for approval, then the meet entry and fees are sent in for sanction.

The 2010 budget projects a profit a little higher than last year's. I sent the budget to the board for approval last week expecting an OK. Not. A board meeting was scheduled for Sunday night. The board now wants to take a closer look, - I think they are searching for pork and earmarks to cut.

This year, the board is busy playing catch up: making decisions on things that have already happened, or putting out fires. The meet was a long way off at the last board meeting in September, so no directors were thinking about it with the fires burning. (You can tell that I am not on the board.) It was noted at the meeting that we need a meet director assigned in order to get the meet sanctioned, in order to get it publicized. Since I brought up the subject and there was little time to do a professional executive search, I got expediently assigned meet director for 2010.

Our budget is simply a list of projected income and expenses. The amounts are based on our past experiences. This year we budget 155 swimmers entering 3.5 events, buying 45 tee shirts. I predict that the tee shirt sales may be down from previous meets due of economic belt-tightening. The average events entered per swimmer has been about 3.5 events. (I would count my 200-IM as .5 event.) The number of swimmers has climbed steadily after taking a year off for pool renovations:
- 2004 - 113 entries / 34 tee shirts sold
- 2005 - 155 / 49 tees (snowstorm year)
- 2006 (pool closed)
- 2007 - 142 / 51 tees
- 2008 - 146 / 51 tees
- 2009 - 167 / 56 tees

The entry fee is based on expenses that we would incur if we had to cancel the meet and send refunds. Generally, it covers pool rental, food, postage for refunds, and some rental of equipment. However, if the cancellation is due to weather, the pool rental, the biggest expense, might be refunded by the county.

The event fee is just what we want to charge based on going rates, and covers other expenses such as awards, officials, and profit. Since we don't have the best facility in the region, we keep it at $5. (That facility inferiority complex keeps coming through this blog, or maybe it's jealousy and envy.) If the meet was cancelled, these fees would be refunded to swimmers.

We borrow the sound system, starting system, lap counter cards, chairs, and some stopwatches. In the first meet, each organization doing the lending (high school swim team and local swim teams) received a $30 donation from us as a thank you. This has become traditional, although the practice went overboard last year. We budgeted four organizations lending equipment. Meet workers couldn't secure all the equipment from each source as planned (or in time), so on their own went to several others. The end result was that we borrowed equipment from a lot more sources, requiring a lot more $30 checks after the meet.


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Updated November 16th, 2009 at 09:31 AM by Rnovitske



  1. aztimm's Avatar
    It sounds like you still charge a base entry fee, then a per event fee? Then give the swimmer the option to purchase a t-shirt?

    That's the way meets here used to be, but that changed a out 10 years ago. They are now one flat fee (usually around $40), which includes a shirt and up to the max number of events (I think 8 or 9, depending if it is a 2 or 3 day meet).

    Since they initiated the change, meet attendance from locals has dropped off steadily. Some meets had to be cancelled due to low registration. For my team's upcoming meet this weekend, our coach was nearly begging us to enter last week (entries closed over the weekend).

    Some say the flat fee, together with the cost of suits, has caused the dropoff. I guess we could see the suit factor next year.

    Personally, I'd like to do a longer event (such as a mile), especially if it is offered on a Friday night. But I'm sure not going to pay $40 for 1 event.
  2. Rnovitske's Avatar
    We charge a meet fee, plus a fee for each event. Some Potomac Valley meets do this, others charge a flat rate of $25. (None throw in a tee shirt.) We haven't seriously considered it, but there are good and bad points for this system. No swimmer has complained yet, so we will probably keep this fee structure going for a while.

    Maybe this is a good topic for the discussion forum to see what swimmers think. (I know what the meet directors' responses will be.)
  3. Ahelee Sue Osborn's Avatar
    Our meets (SPMA & PACIFIC) are a flat fee.
    $25. to $30. I believe.
    Add $10. for day of race registration.
    Championships are $45. early registration / $55. for late
    No day of race registration for championship events.

    Online registration has been been very popular since it was started last year. For one day meets as well.
    Saves alot of work the morning of the meet.

    Only the Long Beach Grunions include a t-shirt for the SCM Championships.

    As a coaches we encourage swimmers to enter as many events as they would consider swimming.Then scratch down at the meet if they change their mind when they see the timeline.
    Heats are seeded the morning of the meet.